The differences between Brazilian Portuguese and European (EU) Portuguese

For many, Portuguese is a language spoken in several countries around the world in the exact same way. In the U.S., by far, Brazilian Portuguese is spoken much more then UE Portuguese. But for native speakers, the awareness of national differences is important. The Portuguese language spoken in South America is so different from the European one that many foreigners call it Brazilian (Brasileiro). In this article, lets investigate some of the differences between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese.

Influence of culture in Brazilian in Brazil and EU Portuguese

Brazil and Portugal are different countries and different cultures; while the Brazilian people speak Portuguese because the area was once a Portuguese colony, that hasn t been the case in a very long time, and other factors have served to influence the language development in Brazil, thousands of miles across the sea from the languages home.

Accordingly, everything from the spelling of words to pronunciation to word choice and meaning varies between the two. Brazilians and EU Portuguese people can understand each other, and weve often heard the differences described as similar to those between American and British English  but its a little deeper than that. On the one hand, in the same way that you cant necessarily take British copy and simply transplant it into America  because everything from spelling to word choice will look wonky to Americans you cant transplant EU Portuguese copy into Brazil without getting a giggle from Brazilians. On the other hand, there are circumstances where something written in Brazilian Portuguese wont even make sense in Portugal and vice-versa, because word choice itself is often the problem.

Differences between Brazilian Portuguese and EU Portuguese Still Matter to Translators and Interpreters

Despite the recently-instituted reforms toward greater Portuguese linguistic unity, translators and interpreters still need to differentiate between the Portuguese of Brazil and that of Portuguese of Portugal and other EU Countries. One reason is that the orthographic reforms are still in a transitional state and not yet fully accepted. In Portugal, for example, although as of 2012 the government had accepted the spelling reform for all official documents, three of ten major news sources have yet to make the transition.

Differences in pronunciation remain and are unlikely to change, since dialects are so heavily influenced by geography. Even within Brazil, an enormous country, many different types of Brazilian Portuguese dialects can be found. Due to the Portuguese differences that continue to exist in Brazil and Portugal, it s important to determine which variety of Portuguese is needed before hiring a translator or interpreter.

What You Can Do

The best thing you can do is have a candid discussion with AML-Global about your expectations for the translation. Be clear about your goals and objectives, the use of formalized language, localization, and plans for distribution. You may even want to consider European and Brazilian Portuguese as two different target languages depending on the specific project and the intended use of the materials.

American Language Services stands the test of time in providing translation, interpretation, transcription and media services (dubbing, voiceovers & subtitling) to private industry, government at all levels, and educational and non-profit organizations. Our thousands of linguists around the world and teams of dedicated professionals are ready to serve.

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